By Mike Woitalla
Sao Paulo's Mercado Municipal da Cantareira -- the biggest market in the world's third largest metropolis – opened at 6 a.m., the morning after a 7-1 loss to Germany in Belo Horizonte emphatically ended Brazil's World Cup hopes.
Most of the 50-plus stands -- selling fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood (lots and lots of dried cod), candy, and the cafes, bars, restaurants -- have a television set. Customers and employees watch endless replays of Germany’s seven goals. Also often replayed is defender David Luiz’s tearful apology.
Elder, a 33-year-old vendor at the Hocca Bar, describes his reaction: “Sadness, anger, massive shame.” But he doesn’t look angry and is mostly joking with co-workers and customers.
Henrique, a 37-year-old, is sipping his coffee and we ask him about the pre-tournament predictions of how severe an impact a Brazil failure would have. That it would, for example, swing the Oct. 5 presidential election against incumbent Dilma Rousseff.
“We don’t vote for a president based on the result of a soccer game,” says Henrique. “People will vote on real issues. And this is not a national tragedy. People may compare it the 1950 loss to Uruguay. But back then we expected to win. This time we knew the team wasn’t very good.”
After the game, captain Thiago Silva, who was suspended for the semifinal, said, “We will be marked for the rest of our lives with the stigma of the humiliation of this defeat.”
The 60-something taxi driver Joao calls the players spoiled millionaires who don’t try hard enough and says, “You could have taken the best players from Corinthians and Sao Paulo and formed a better national team than this one with all the European players.”
There are reports of postgame vandalism -- the burning of buses – but they seem to have been random acts far from where most fans gathered. All the Sao Paulo residents and media members we came across said it was quiet after the game.
I was still in Rio and at halftime -- the Germans already leading 5-0 -- checked out the bars and restaurants in Flamengo, where the sidewalks were crowded with viewers. Most were already joking about the failure. “Now we all pray for the Netherlands, because we cannot have Argentina win the World Cup!” said one woman.
The taxi driver who worked Copacabana, site of the FanFest, until three hours after the game reported a somber mood. “People were sad and tired and went home,” he said.
On the red-eye bus from Rio to Sao Paulo, the Brazilians are laughing off the loss. The newspapers they read in the morning will take a merciless view of the game.
“Humiliated!” Is the most popular headline word. The front of page of Lance! Is blank, with small words at the bottom: “Indignation, Revulsion, Pain, Frustration, Irritation, Shame, Disillusion …”
Diaro de Sao Paulo grades all of Brazil’s players on a scale of 1 to 10 – and rates each one a zero.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gets slammed for his tactical approach and mocked even more for encouraging his players to text with a psychologist during the tournament.
Earlier in the tournament, Carlos Alberto, captain of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning squad, had complained: "The team is crying when they're singing the anthem, when they get hurt, when they shoot penalties! Come on... Stop crying! Enough!”
That, it turned out, was just the beginning. On Wednesday morning, besides David Luiz, Oscar, Julio Cesar, Marcelo and Willian were shown in tears or struggling to restrain them.
Brazil’s fans seem to be dealing with the loss better than the players.